Foramina of the skull

Foramina of the skull
Bone: Foramina of the skull
Base of the skull. Upper surface
Base of the skull. Inferior surface, attachment of muscles marked in red

The human skull has numerous holes (foramina) through which cranial nerves, arteries, veins and other structures pass.

List of foramina and the structures that pass through them

Bone Cranial fossa Foramina Vessels Nerves
frontal - supraorbital foramen supraorbital artery, supraorbital vein supraorbital nerve
frontal anterior cranial fossa foramen cecum emissary veins to superior sagittal sinus -
ethmoid - foramina of cribriform plate - olfactory nerve bundles (I)
ethmoid anterior cranial fossa anterior ethmoidal foramen anterior ethmoidal artery
anterior ethmoidal vein
anterior ethmoidal nerve
ethmoid anterior cranial fossa posterior ethmoidal foramen posterior ethmoidal artery
posterior ethmoidal vein
posterior ethmoidal nerve
sphenoid - optic canal ophthalmic artery optic nerve (II)
sphenoid middle cranial fossa superior orbital fissure superior ophthalmic vein oculomotor nerve (III)
trochlear nerve (IV)
lacrimal, frontal and nasociliary branches of ophthalmic nerve (V1)
abducent nerve (VI)
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen rotundum - maxillary nerve (V2)
maxilla - incisive foramen/incisive canals sphenopalatine artery nasopalatine nerve(V2)
palatine - greater palatine foramen greater palatine artery
greater palatine vein
greater palatine nerve
palatine and maxilla - lesser palatine foramina lesser palatine artery
lesser palatine vein
lesser palatine nerve
sphenoid and maxilla - inferior orbital fissure inferior ophthalmic veins
infraorbital artery
infraorbital vein
zygomatic nerve and infraorbital nerve of maxillary nerve (V2)
orbital branches of pterygopalatine ganglion
maxilla - infraorbital foramen infraorbital artery
infraorbital vein
infraorbital nerve
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen ovale accessory meningeal artery mandibular nerve (V3)
lesser petrosal nerve (occasionally)
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen spinosum middle meningeal artery meningeal branch of the mandibular nerve (V3)
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen lacerum internal carotid artery, artery of pterygoid canal nerve of pterygoid canal
temporal posterior cranial fossa internal acoustic meatus labyrinthine artery facial nerve (VII), vestibulocochlear nerve (VIII)
temporal posterior cranial fossa jugular foramen inferior petrosal sinus, sigmoid sinus glossopharyngeal nerve (IX), vagus nerve (X), accessory nerve (XI)
occipital posterior cranial fossa hypoglossal canal - hypoglossal nerve (XII)
occipital posterior cranial fossa foramen magnum anterior and posterior spinal arteries, vertebral arteries medulla oblongata
temporal posterior cranial fossa stylomastoid foramen stylomastoid artery facial nerve
Image of base of the skull with several of the foramina labeled.

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